rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

David Suzuki

David Suzuki's picture
Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 26 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the long-running CBC television program The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. His written work includes more than 52 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife, Dr. Tara Cullis, and family in Vancouver, B.C.

Is geoengineering a silver bullet for climate change?

| August 20, 2013

Altering environments to suit our needs is not new. From clearing land to building dams, we've done it throughout history. When our technologies and populations were limited, our actions affected small areas -- though with some cascading effects on interconnected ecosystems.

We've now entered an era in which humans are a geological force. According to the website Welcome to the Anthropocene, "There are now so many of us, using so many resources, that we’re disrupting the grand cycles of biology, chemistry and geology by which elements like carbon and nitrogen circulate between land, sea and atmosphere. We’re changing the way water moves around the globe as never before. Almost all the planet's ecosystems bear the marks of our presence."

One of our greatest impacts is global warming, fuelled by massive increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning oil, coal and gas. Thanks in part to self-preserving industrialists, complicit governments and deluded deniers, we've failed to take meaningful action to address the problem, even though we've known about it for decades. Many now argue the best way to protect humanity from the worst effects is to further alter Earth’s natural systems through geoengineering.

Geoengineering to combat climate change is largely untested. Because we've stalled so long on reducing carbon emissions and still aren't doing enough, we may have to consider it. What will that mean?

As it relates to climate change, geoengineering falls into two categories: solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal. The former involves reflecting solar radiation back into space. The latter is aimed at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it.

Solar radiation management includes schemes such as releasing sulphur aerosols into the atmosphere to scatter sunlight and reduce radiation, creating or whitening clouds by spraying seawater or other materials into the air, and even installing giant reflectors in space. These methods don’t affect CO2 levels and so don’t address issues like ocean acidification, but they offer possible quick fixes to reduce warming.

An example of carbon removal is fertilizing oceans with iron. Iron stimulates growth of small algae called phytoplankton, which remove carbon dioxide from the sea and release oxygen through photosynthesis. This allows the oceans to absorb additional CO2 from the atmosphere. When the plankton die and sink to the ocean floor, they become buried under other materials, storing the carbon within them.

The Alberta and federal governments have spent billions on their favoured carbon-reduction method, carbon capture and storage -- trapping CO2 released by burning fossil fuels and pumping it into the ground -- but this method has yet to be perfected.

Many schemes are controversial and have shown mixed results in tests, and the danger of unintended consequences is real, including further catastrophic, irreversible damage to the climate system.

One major drawback with geoengineering is the mistaken idea that it can be a substitute for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. That many geoengineering projects are fraught with danger and would not resolve the problem quickly enough or even effectively -- and would do little or nothing to resolve other fossil fuel problems such as pollution -- makes this a critical concern.

There's also the matter of who would decide what methods to apply and when and where. The issue of "rogue" geoengineering has also cropped up in my part of the world, when an American businessman working with the Haida village of Old Massett dumped 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the ocean in 2012 for a salmon restoration and carbon-reduction project.

A U.K. Royal Society study concludes that geoengineering "should only be considered as part of a wider package of options for addressing climate change" and carbon dioxide reduction methods should be preferred over more unpredictable solar radiation management.

Scientists at the Berlin Social Science Research Centre suggest creating "a new international climate engineering agency … to coordinate countries' efforts and manage research funding." Because some geoengineering is likely unavoidable, that’s a good idea. But rather than rationalizing our continued use of fossil fuels in the false belief that technology will enable us to carry on with our destructive ways, we really need governments, scientists and industry to start taking climate change and greenhouse gas emissions seriously. We can't just engineer our way out of the problem.

Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Communications Manager Ian Hanington.

Learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.




“We know what is creating our problem with climate and we know the best solution, which is to accept that mother nature, not governments or corporations sets the limits and we’ve got to meet those limits. Geoengineering is Insane.” – David Suzuki http://www.handsoffmotherearth.org/2010/04/david-suzuki-geoengineering-is-insane/

so what is it david, is geoenginering insane or may we have to consider it? as you ask in this present article .... Because we've stalled so long on reducing carbon emissions and still aren't doing enough, we may have to consider it. What will that mean?  David Suzuki http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/david-suzuki/2013/08/geoengineering-silver-bullet-climate-change


or is it both insane and maybe nessacary. a possible insane nessesity. is that what  you would call it?

i am calling you out big scientest. speak out on the spraying  that is happening now and why are you now accepting geoengineering when you publicly called it insane?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0bJE5YI9jg#t=874 bill vander zalm speaks out against chemtrails.

davud suzuki denying chemtrails for years. here is proof. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU6RRn6KFdos,

at end of video he says, chemtrail guys dog me all the time.....

the elephant in the sky is CHEMTRAILS. after bill vanderzalm put his name on the line to come out against geoengineering and chemtrails.

david suzuki is hedging the issue. speak out now against what is being sprayed on us now. the media including rabble.ca has panned vanderzalm but he is right and he has little to gain from protesting chemtrails but clean air and blue sky. get with it rabble.ca.

 This morning I awoke to a blue sky day on my boat north of Powell River near the Copeland Islands, with almost no clouds in the sky, But within a few hours jet trails sprayed the sky and spread until the sky was streaked with thin grey clouds and they are spraying as I type.

  My family and I have been sailing around these islands for over eight years. Many time we have seen the trails from jets cloud our skies. I have written our leaders and the media with little attention. Here is a link to our blog to verify who i am and our lifestyle. Daily I look to sky for the safety of my family and our boat.


  Jets changing the weather was at first unbelievable when told to me by some friends until I observed it for myself. I can offer no proof other than photos and video but I have seen these jets spray weather changing compounds all around the Salish sea for years.

  With the internet more people are becoming aware. We must stop the government from spraying us with unknown chemicals without our permission, which is against many laws.

  Bill Vander Zalm has recently came out against chemtrails. Major media has not even mentioned this although they know. Personal emails from Bill Vander Zalm have confirmed this story to me.

  Bill has proved a real leader speaking out against chemtrails and has ordered freedom of information records on chemtrails.


  Follow links for more info. Please research for your own information and most important, look up and prove for yourself that aerosols sprayed from jets are changing the weather.

  google chemtrails for more info.

  Global marches against chemtrails will be held in Vancouver and Victoria on August 25.


  more at www.canadaskywatch.com


suzuki could help us end the spaying now if he would only speak out against them. look up. they are  there for real. we are not making this up.  please stop the spraying. no one will even do a story on all the people that believe the government hates us so much as to spray us with poisons. we are not all crazy. just look up. you cant not see them once you know. the shit  is already hitting the fan, stop the spaying now. it is completely illegal and the government is totally immoral to do this to us.


Consensus scientists ONLY agree climate change "could be" a deadly crisis after 28 years of warnings.

Skeptical scientists agree climate change "won't be" a deadly crisis.

*Not one single scientist has ever said climate change "WILL be" an "eventual" or "inevitable" deadly crisis.*

Prove me wrong!


Anthropogenic climate change is above all a social problem, requiring social solutions.

Misuse of technology is what got us into the mess we are in. More technology is not the solution.

Login or register to post comments